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On Monday 27 June 2016, volunteers, activists and staff from across the world of charity retail came together to recognise the very best the sector has to offer.

The Charity Retail Awards – now in their ninth year – are hosted by the Charity Retail Association (CRA) the only body which represents charity shops in the UK.

They were held at Keele Hall on Monday 27 June and sponsored by Lloyds Bank.

TV Comedian Nish Kumar, who has featured on shows such as Have I Got News For You and Mock The Week, compered the evening’s entertainment.

Cats Protection receive their award from Nish Kumar, Sarah Baker of Lloyds and CRA Deputy Chair Gerard Cousins.

Cats Protection receive their award from Nish Kumar, Sarah Baker of Lloyds and CRA Deputy Chair Gerard Cousins.

The biggest charity winner of the night was Cats Protection, who walked away with the prestigious “Outstanding Charity Retailer of the Year” and also the award for “Best Use of Technology”.

It’s been an extraordinary year for Cats Protection.  At the beginning of 2015 they had 72 shops. At the end of 2015 90. By the end of this year they will have 110.  This rate of growth outstrips almost anyone else in the sector and is down to a new retail strategy they launched at the start of the year.  This plan included opening flagship stores in London, Birmingham and Edinburgh to create regional ‘centres of excellence’ to make the vision tangible.

Lorna Fallon, Cats Protection’s Retail and Trading Manager, said: “I am delighted that our retail team won two major awards at the Charity Retail Association Conference this week. It is wonderful to be recognised by such a prestigious organisation and this demonstrates that our retail operation is successfully raising awareness of Cats Protection and what we do.  I would like to thank all of the dedicated volunteers and staff that have worked so hard to help bring our retail vision to life.”

John Smith claims his prize

John Smith claims his prize

Individual volunteers were also recognised.  John Smith, a 17 year old from Glasgow with a variety of debilitating conditions, took home the prize of “Young Volunteer of the Year” for his 16 hours a week volunteering at a Shelter shop in Prestwick near Glasgow.

Peggy Bainbridge - Winner

Peggy Bainbridge – Winner

Meanwhile, Peggy Bainbridge from Rennie Grove Hospice Care in Tring walked away with the prize for “Volunteer of the Year”.  As a long standing volunteer Peggy is entirely responsible for the creation of today’s Rennie Grove Hospice Care trading empire which started from one small market stall in 1992.

There was also a moment of mirth as Helen and Douglas House claimed the prize for “Most Unusual Item Donated”, after one of their donors left them a high-visibility jacket for a chicken (presumably to help them when crossing the road) and a rubber chicken to wear it.

Robin Osterley, Chief Executive of the CRA said: “The CRA were proud to host what was a fantastic night which brought together so many people from across the sector and across the UK.  The night was a great showcase for this innovative and important sector.  We had an incredibly strong list of nominations and they, and all of the eventual winners should be very proud.”

Full list of winners

YOUNG VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR – JOHN SMITH from the Shelter shop in Prestwick near Glasgow

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR – PEGGY BAINBRIDGE from Rennie Grove Hospice Care in Tring

RETAIL STAFF MEMBER OF THE YEAR – PETE JEW from Shelter in Stockbridge

SHOP TEAM OF THE YEAR – CULTS, the Aberdeen branch of Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland

SPECIALIST SHOP OF THE YEAR – The Retro and Vintage shop for BRITISH RED CROSS in Belfast




MOST VALUABLE ITEM (0-100 SHOPS) – HIGHLAND HOSPICE for a ring which raised £19,500

MOST VALUABLE ITEM (100+ SHOPS) – OXFAM for a George III Mahogany Commode which raised £40,000

MOST UNUSUAL ITEM DONATED – HELEN AND DOUGLAS HOUSE for a hi-vis jacket and rubber chicken

BIGGEST COMMUNITY IMPACT – THE AIR AMBULANCE SERVICE for working with CT Skills and the Job Centre


Congratulations to all of our award winners for 2016!